Another long walk from the MRT (at Luzhiang) to the corner of Linjiang and Tonghua streets for an uninspiring selection of food vendors scattered among the non-food touristy offerings. Electric-orange glazed sweet potatoes (NT30 for a bag) weren't half as sweet as they looked.
Nuts and Tubers Vendor Linjiang-Tonghua Night Market, Taipei
Amid the many clothing vendors, Raohe St. features more Japanese food stalls than most night markets in Taipei; witness this eggy item with shrimp, perhaps pork, plus mayo and bonito flakes (NT40). (I might have called it an okonomiyaki, but the characters above the stall didn't label it such.)
Griddled Scramble Stall Raohe St. Night Market, Taipei
A longish walk from the Houshanpi MRT station (even longer if you take the wrong turn that I did), the Raohe St. Night Market was fairly quiet on a Monday evening. These otherwise ordinary sweet potato fries (small order; NT30) struck a surprising note, however, after a dusting of plum powder.
Shrimp and meatball dumplings (three for NT50) made for a fine combo, though once they're sliced open, wrangling a shrimp, some meatball, and some slippery wrapper into a single mouthful is very nearly impossible without a soup spoon.
Despite the name, the soup (NT45) was thin and oily, with pungent-tasting pork plus white rice doused with a superb scrappy gravy (NT10). I would have taken a pass on a side of tofu with hot sauce (NT15), but Jerry is fond even of the stinky variety. As for me, seconds on the rice, please!
Pork Thick Soup King Keelung Night Market, Keelung
The soup (NT50), which adds crabmeat and coriander to a traditional Chinese soup base thickened with corn starch, was fully satisfying as is; the accompanying mushroom-laced rice (NT25) needed several squirts of hot sauce.
Crab Thick Soup/Glutinous Oil Rice Keelung Night Market, Keelung
A 15-minute walk from the train station (itself a 40-minute train ride north of Taipei), this port city boasts a long-running, well-regarded night market that's more focused on food than many in Taipei. Elsewhere these might be fish balls; this famous vendor doesn't bother to shape them so, but they make sure that every serving (NT30) receives its full allotment of pickles.
Tempura: Fried Fish Paste Keelung Night Market, Keelung
Scanty selection of produce, meat, fish, and fowl, but a good food court once you run the gauntlet of gals waving juice menus in your path. This busy eatery has a small repertoire that runs to noodles, soup, pork, shrimp, and oysters; the latter two found their way into a decent version of the typical Taiwanese omelette (NT50).
Zhong Cheng Hao Inside Shilin Market, next to the Jiantan MRT station, Taipei
Shida, the shortened Chinese name of National Taiwan Normal University, also takes much of its character from a college-age crowd that might be just as happy at the mall; less interesting for the food. Starfruit juice (NT30).
Squid soup (left; NT40) and cuttlefish soup (NT50). Less exotic than the snake soup, snake meat, and snake blood liquors that earned Huaxi St. the moniker "Snake Alley," but as Jerry noted and as we quickly confirmed with a walk-by, the Huaxi St. snake joints now do business almost exclusively with tourists, and very little at that. Double Happiness is a little on the fluorescent side, too, but its still a dining haven for regular folks.